As my time at the University of Illinois draws to a close, I have started reflecting on my education.
Has the time, money, blood, sweat, and tears been worth it? What have I even learned?
My studies have been in leadership these past four years. Usually, when I tell people I majored in Ag Leadership Education, images of corn fields and classrooms enter their minds. What I've actually been studying is the history of leadership in western civilizations.
It started with believing being a leader was a trait to be inherited, like height or weight. As time marched forward and studies progressed, the world began to understand leadership as a process; a skill that could be cultivated in everyone.
Everyone is different, of course, so everyone experiences leadership differently. For me, leadership is listening to the needs of those around me, and adapting my leadership style to them. It's the Behavioral Approach. Think of it this way--if I were your boss, and you struggled a lot with doing work, I would help you out with it. If you were good, I would be hands-off. It's a win-win for both you and me.
Emotional intelligence plays into this theory as well. It assess a person's ability to navigate their own and another's emotions. This intelligence helps out in the workplace and really everywhere else in life. One of my instructors said emotional intelligence is far more important and valuable in life than actual intelligence.
Charles Darwin said once said, "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. At the end of the day, there is no one-size-fits-all theory that works for every situation for every leader. The best way to handle the situation is assess and adapt. It's as simple as that.